Distributed Renewable resources Exploitation in electric grids through Advanced heterarchical Management

DREAM concept and objectives

The DREAM project  has laid the foundations for a novel heterarchical management approach of complex electrical power grids, providing new mechanisms for stable and cost effective integration of distributed renewable energy sources, as well as for enhanced consumer involvement in economic and ecological electricity use. Applying the principles of autonomous agent-based systems to the control and management of the electricity distribution grid  allows the system to constantly adjust to current operational conditions and make it robust to exogenous disturbances.

In turn, this  allows for greater penetration of intermittent resources and will make the distribution grid more resilient to failures. DREAM  includes several layers of controls for normal, congested and post-contingency situations that  uses different coordination strategies ranging from market based transactions to emergency demand response and create ad-hoc federations of agents that flexibly adjust their hierarchy to current needs.

The system transitions smoothly between control layers depending on local operational conditions, so that responses to disturbances are sized precisely, margins are used parsimoniously and full network flexibility is tapped. The system involves only limited data transfers and no centralized control, promoting extensibility, heterogeneity and easy deployment across countries with different network architectures and hardware manufacturers.

DREAM  demonstrates the economic and technical feasibility of these novel control mechanisms, thanks to real-world small-scale pilots dedicated to different use-cases, and computer simulations has been used to study further scalability. Furthermore, economic viability has been modelled and examined for the various actors in the grid taking into account the unpredictability of consumer power production, market dynamics, novel regulation schemes and the adoption of DREAM mechanisms over time.

The quantification of the efficiency of the heterarchical method can be reached by assessing its ability to improve the operational quality in the DSO grid. The reduction of cable and transformer losses is a major indicator in this regard, in addition to voltage violation mitigation. The ability of the method to postpone or reduce grid reinforcement is also a quantification of the efficiency of the method.

Assuming the existence of regional markets of energy and services based on agent-hood concepts allows for an optimization of operational conditions of distributed generation, and of course renewable energy. As a consequence, actively integrating decentralized generation in grid operation and energy supply raises the hosting capacity of grids with regard to these generators. Increasing the hosting capacity is another indicator of the success of the method.

Another aspect is the interaction between the DSO and the TSO grid. More communication between these two operators means less resort to balancing power, and the possibility of provision of ancillary services from the DSOs side to the TSOs side. An assessment of how active and reactive power provision can help in congestion management at the TSO level has also been persued.

All these aspects has been quantified based on both trials and simulations of benchmark and real grids using real measurements and real load and generation profiles.

Project Focus

DREAM project foucuses on:


Project Size and duration

DREAM  project has lasted over a duration of 40 months with a total effort of over 600 person-months. As many research projects, DREAM has been carried out along three main work lines:

  • A concept and architecture phase, devoted to the establishment of principles and methods to accommodate the functions required to cope with project challenges;
  • A design and development phase, devoted to the development of the support system for the new operational characteristics for the distribution grids;
  • A validation and demonstration phase, building and operating five sites for test cases in France, Greece, Italy and The Netherlands.


The research results have been communicated for the creation of external awareness and knowledge building within the targeted stakeholders and scientific communities of the European Union. DREAM communication is aimed at preparing and guiding potential users for the benefits and potential of the expected outcomes of the project.

Industrial Dissemination:  DREAM results are disseminated  in the industrial sector to promote the  take up and adoption of the innovation by energy grid stakeholders, by electric devices manufacturers and by industrial energy customers in order to reach the maximum potential advantages.